Woohoo! The day was finally HERE!!!
I know cruises aren’t for everybody, but I really, really enjoy them. They’re easy. Food is right there, drinks are right there, kid entertainment is right there, grown up entertainment is right there, the ships are always clean and awesome. You get to marathon-adventure from place to place, and I just really love the whole experience.
Except packing. Y’all feel me on this, right?
But we finally got loaded in the car, with the promise that they didn’t have to pack everything they owned, there would be plenty of entertainment.
Jacob was not amused by the two hour drive the Galveston…
But then we saw the big boat! Even in our ugly Galveston port, I just love to see the big boats. <3
Getting on board is usually quite easy. We were traveling on the Carnival Vista, but since we’re leaving and entering the same port, we only needed Birth Certificates for the kids (and we brought our passports for us). We usually have a whole conversation in the car regarding behavior and our expectations, and for the most part, they’re really well behaved.
You like the IFPS luggage tag on our luggage?? ALWAYS repping the International Fluid Power Society!
We like to arrive as early as possible, because the first meal on the ship is usually around lunch time, and our rooms won’t be ready for a couple hours anyway. Frankly, I find it amazing that they can change the linens and completely clean hundreds of rooms in less than 4 hours. Not to mention, doing that while they start distributing luggage. I mean, I can’t clean my house that quickly, and a cruise ship is WAY bigger. So props to them for whatever miraculous teamwork they pull off there!
We headed for my least favorite but only open dining option on embarkation day – the buffet!
I’m a scrooge about the buffets, seriously. If you don’t like the food on a cruise – STOP GOING TO THE BUFFET! There are SO many better options, even with the kids. But my kids don’t mind a break from my cooking at all, and they went to town on the fruit and Jell-O!
Jacob was SO amped up on all the energy and excitement of the family being together.
After lunch, we headed outside for cocktails while continued our wait. (It usually takes a couple hours.)
Mom and Dad (actually my in-laws, but when you’re on a Baughman family trip, everyone calls them mom and dad!) brought mardi gras beads for the trip. Apparently, every single cruise ship has a Facebook group, so you can go on there and meet (aka Facebook stalk) all of the people who will be on the cruise with you. Not everyone is on there obviously, but I think over a thousand people were on the Facebook page for our cruise, so there’s more than you’d think!
When the ship pulls out of Galveston harbor, there’s always a Bon Voyage party for setting sail, and the deal was that everyone on our Facebook group page would wear red, white, and blue necklaces to signify there were part of the group. It’s just a fun little thing, and the kids loved it!
Just breathing in some salty sea air, and breathing out the stress!
We made sure the kids had some entertainment packed in their bags for the wait… (SO many LOL dolls…)
Finally, time to go check out our rooms!
We have a strict ‘no running in the halls’ policy that’s violated regularly because #excitement, but we are very strict with our kids about being respectful of other people. No one wants their vacation ruined by a bunch of kids being jerks.
We always get a balcony room now that we have kids. It’s just necessary! And our balconies open up to each other, which is awesome. #beautifulgalveston #notsomuch
The girls played games while we waited on our luggage (which always makes me nervous, every time).
It wasn’t long before we were called to our muster stations. Time to walk to our designated spot!
We had a talk with the kids about muster, what it was, and what happens if there’s an emergency and they’re not with us. We also made sure they brought their iPads – because muster is hot and boring and can take a while (I’m looking at you, grown adult who decided to take your sweet time and make us all wait for your arrival) and we learned our lesson last time!
We went back to the room and got all of our luggage put away. There’s so little room, living out of a suitcase is not an option! By the time we were done with muster and housekeeping, it was time for ‘early dinner’. Early on ship time is 6pm (late is 8pm I believe), and our kids were starving.
Jacob pretty much only wants to eat carbs while he’s on the ship. Like, only bread and sugar.
Family dinner time!
Yes, we had iPads at the dinner table. Sometimes mommy just wants to have mommy time (aka wine) and enjoy some conversation. #aintnothingwrongwiththat
After dinner, we headed back to the room. I caught a beautiful sunset (one of my favorite things!)…
And then caught some really elaborate interpretive dance sessions courtesy of Lizzy and Gigi. <3
The next morning, me and my kiddos were amongst the first people awake on the ship (like usual), so we went down to the buffet in our pajamas, because #whynot. Gigi pinkie promised me she’d have her best behavior today!
I bought the #carnival Cheers drink package for me and Mark on the cruise, and I’ll tell you, it’s WORTH IT. We did the math, and it’s something like four drinks a day and it pays for itself. You can have something like 15 drinks in a day, which I’ve never come close to, but I can probably hit 10 drinks in a day if I’m lounging by the pool all day. Plus, it includes specialty coffee!
No one is judging you for wearing jammies while you drink your coffee at 6am on vacation, people. Except for maybe the barista who made me my awesome coffee, and probably felt bad for me because I was up so early. He made me a puppy dog in my foam! He didn’t do this the other days when it was busier, but I think he felt sorry for me. But he did brighten my day!
When we were all up and moving (and Jacob was done flexing his muscles), we got ready to hang out by the pool!
The early bird gets the worm so they say, and we got great chair spots since we were up so early.
Bert went right for the (freezing cold) pool with the kiddos.
Jacob opted to wait for a bit, because those trucks weren’t going to just play with themselves.
The big slide area opened up a little after that, so we headed to the upper deck to check it out!
C’mon Uncle Shawn! Let’s go!
So much joy in that face!
Once they tired themselves out, it was time to lounge and warm up in the sun for a bit.
We checked out the view…
And toweled off before going to find the rest of our crew to grab some lunch.
Jacob just LOVES all his uncles. #brotime
It’s 5 O’Clock somewhere…
We found our group on the deck!
Jacob hitched a ride with Uncle Shawn back to the room.
As the pool decks got more crowded and the heat cranked up, we decided it was time to go back to the room for showers before heading to lunch.
Then we took the kids to Camp Ocean, where they can play with lots of other kids their age and do fun activities. Which also means that WE get to do fun grown up activities in the peace and quiet! #mommytime
The girls went off to try their hand at Bingo…
While the boys did a Brewery Tour and tasting at the on-ship brewery.
We picked the kids back up from Camp Ocean just before dinner. Look what we found!
Our first night on board we had formal dinner night (which is typical). Naturally, Gigi needed to get fancy.
Jacob was all fun and smiles at the beginning of the evening…
But by the end of dinner, he had crawled into my lap and literally passed out on my chest.
He passed out just in time to miss the great magician who came to our table. The girls loved him, and Lizzy kept calling him out on all his tricks.
After dinner we took the kids to their very first show on board the ship. We took our kids in and they sat down to settle in, but in a dramatic turn of events, a lady in the audience before the show starting having heart issues and couldn’t breathe, so they ushered us all out of the theater until the medical team could get to her.
No worries, though. Our kids thoroughly entertained their fellow passengers with some interpretive dance in the hallway while we waited. (Gratefully, everyone seemed to think it was funny and not obnoxious, so we let them do it. It was quite a dramatic show.)
They absolutely loved it, and it was a great end to our day!
The next Sea Day, my kids were up obnoxiously early as usual, ready for breakfast and cartoons in our underwear.
Gigi was dressed and ready to go, hat and all!
Jacob ‘helped’ on the elevator every single time. There’s usually a battle about whose turn it is to push the elevator buttons.
We swam, then ate ice cream for breakfast with grandpa (because there are very few rules at sea), and then swam some more!
The girls indulged me with a few posed pictures <3
Jacob got to pour his own root beer like a grown up.
And while I was taking the kids to Camp Ocean, she apparently judged a hairy chest competition on the Lido deck. I’m so proud! Haha
Meanwhile, I chilled, judging no one. 🙂
We picked up the kids from camp and headed to the Red Frog pub for some pre-dinner drinks and games. Jacob really put his whole body into playing sack toss.
We hung out with Grandpa…
Pretended to be a stuffed pig (literally)…
Drank a LOT of Shirley Temples…
And we attacked Uncle Shawn multiple times. Or maybe it was the other way around, I can’t be sure. 🙂
Then it was time for dinner, because on sea days on a cruise, you’re pretty much always eating.
And of course, there was lots of dancing and singing by the staff.
Mark had clams for dinner, so he taught Jacob how to pinch the shell and make it seem like the clams were talking. Because #lifeskills.
After dinner we watched one more show (not as good as the first, a little slow for keeping the kid’s attention, but they sat through it all!) and then headed back to to our room. Our steward made sure we had some great towel art, which the kiddos loved! (They’re not hyper from ice cream at all, can you tell?)
And that’s the start of our cruise! Stay tuned for more fun when we hit Roatan tomorrow!